Improving Postsecondary Education Access and Success
- The U.S. Department of Education is interested in identifying effective strategies to improve access to and success in postsecondary education.
- Dual enrollment programs can help prepare students for college, lower college costs, and improve college outcomes, but many students, especially from disadvantaged groups, lack access to these programs.
- Abt and its partners will identify and refine promising dual enrollment strategies that can be rigorously tested.
Access to middle-class jobs increasingly requires a college degree or other postsecondary credential. However, students from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely than their more advantaged peers to have awareness of—and access to—the resources necessary to prepare, apply, enroll, and succeed in college. The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES) is interested in expanding the evidence base of strategies to increase preparation for and reduce barriers to success in postsecondary education. There’s particular interest in strategies for students from low-income and other disadvantaged backgrounds.
Dual enrollment programs represent one promising option that can help prepare students for college, lower the cost of earning a college credential, and improve student outcomes like college enrollment, persistence, and completion. However, students from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education are less likely to participate in dual enrollment programs, even though they stand to benefit greatly from such programs. IES contracted with Abt Associates and our partners to study strategies to improve disadvantaged students’ access to dual enrollment opportunities.
Under Task Order 1 of IES’s Evaluating Programs and Strategies to Improve Postsecondary Education Access and Success Blank Purchase Agreement, Abt and our partners will:
- Identify and assess different strategies to improve access to dual enrollment courses;
- Select a set of strategies to pilot and test rigorously; and
- Refine or adapt the strategy or set of strategies to prepare it (them) for implementation.
Abt and our partners will identify and refine promising dual enrollment strategies that can be rigorously tested.